The country-wide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) introduced last November will be lifted from midday today (Tuesday 16 August) the Animal and Plant Health Agency has confirmed.
More than 130 cases of Avian Influenza (AI) have been recorded since the start of the AI season last October, in the worst ever outbreak of bird flu to date. The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss says that the risk to kept poultry has abated due to the warmer summer temperatures but has warned that AI continues to impact the wild bird population.
She said, “Now we are in the summer months and experiencing higher temperatures, the risk to poultry has now been reduced across Great Britain and so the time is right to lift the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.
This would not have been possible without the hard work of all bird keepers, who have upheld high biosecurity standards for many months. However, there are still localised areas of risk as we have seen recently, and therefore it’s vital that everyone keeps biosecurity and cleanliness at the forefront of their minds to keep their flocks safe.”
A high standard of biosecurity is still needed on poultry farms
Due to the severe outbreak impacting the wild bird population, there continues to be a threat of infection despite the AIPZ being lifted. The need for stringent security measures on poultry farms therefore remains, with poultry farmers urged to maintain strict biosecurity practices to prevent disease incursion.
Ensuring that wild birds are not able to interact with flocks is imperative. Measures to minimise the potential for interaction should continue. This includes keeping poultry feed securely stored and inaccessible to wild birds.
As experts in biosecurity, Livetec is aware of just how critical these measures are. High standards of cleansing and disinfection are a necessity. This means maintaining cleansing and disinfection measures such as foot dips at the entrances and exits to poultry housing, and disinfecting all clothing, footwear, vehicles, and machinery that is permitted access to the farm.
Other measures such as keeping clear visitor records, regularly checking poultry housing is in a good state of repair with no gaps or holes in roofs or walls, managing vermin, removing vegetation around poultry housing, and cleaning up any food spills should also continue as normal. If you’d like additional information on maintaining appropriate biosecurity measures and protecting your poultry from the ongoing risk of AI, contact the Livetec team today. For emergency assistance, such as if you suspect an outbreak of bird flu on your premises, our new online emergency help form can be found here.